Offa Robbery: Stolen money, guns not accounted for

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A major row is brewing in the police circles following the disappearance of the statement of the ring leader of the April 5, deadly robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State during which the daredevils robbed six banks and carted away billions of Naira and killed 31 persons, including nine of policemen and made away with 21 rifles.

It will be recalled that following the attack, the police high command in Abuja moved in immediately and swooped on the suspects before they could share their loot and disperse from Kwara State. Saturday Vanguard learned that the mastermind of the robbery, Michael Adikwu, a dismissed police officer, had refused to share the huge cash to the other members of the gang on the grounds that they would not rush into the city to begin to display opulence and attract the attention of security men and the public.

It was while they were still ruminating on how to share the loot that the gangsters were picked up and taken to Abuja. However, while all the suspects- Michael Adikwu, Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Ibrahim, Salawudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran were arrested, neither the cash they stole from the six banks nor the 21 rifles which were ‘recovered’ were made mention of by those who arrested them.

Strangely, the statement, which the mastermind of the crime, Adikwu, who reportedly died in police custody, has not, been found. Adikwu’s statement, which he voluntarily made to the police shortly after being taken into custody, was said not to have been included in the two case files which the Office of the Inspector General of Police submitted in two briefings to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to enable it prepare a legal advice in respect of the prosecution of the suspects.

However, the gaps created by the police in investigating the suspects have led to a disagreement between the police and the Federal Ministry of Justice, which has already washed off its hands in prosecuting the suspects, saying that armed robbery matters fall within the purview of states where they take place and not the duty of the federal government.

The face-off between the police high command and the justice ministry appears to have deepened following the death in police custody of the mastermind of the robbery, thereby making it even more difficult to get further information from the suspects on the whereabouts of the proceeds of crime, which were said to have been in the deceased’s possession.

Even though the ministry has handed over the case file to the Kwara State Ministry of Justice to prosecute, the federal ministry of justice strongly believes the statement volunteered by the ringleader, Adikwu, to the police, the recovery of the cash stolen from the banks and the weapons used in the fatal attacks, would be vital to the case. For that reason, the Justice ministry has strongly advised the police high command to take necessary steps to produce the proceeds of crime, in this case, all or part of the huge cash reportedly stolen by the robbers from the six commercial banks and the lethal weapons and ammunition they carted from the police and used in assaulting the Divisional Police station Offa after killing nine policemen there.

The Justice Ministry also insisted that the report by the police that some of the suspects claimed that the Senate President and the governor of Kwara State and his Chief of Staff sponsored them with guns and vehicles, the police report did not in any way indicate who bought what and to whom in its submission, thereby making it difficult to tie any of the weapons to any of the politicians named by suspects.

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